The Chainlink

Disturbing story of a cyclist who was struck and killed by a tour bus on the Mag Mile earlier this evening. RIP.

Update at 10:30 PM: the victim was named as 29 year old Blaine Klingenberg. Condolences to his family and friends.

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Update: It turns out my source was incorrect and CDOT does not have traffic cam footage of the crash. However, there is a city-owned camera at the intersection; I am working on gaining access to any footage from the camera.

"For now the opinions about cyclist's behavior are premature as are calls to condemn the driver. Right now we have tragedy and sadness with some questions about what can be done to make sure these things do not happen in the future. To do otherwise is to take a tragedy and make it fit your agenda."

I think you need to reread my Streetsblog posts. For starters, in our coverage of this case, I have already written about what can be done to prevent crashes like this in the future: Better enforcement, slower speed limits, more safety education, and safer street design.

Moreover, it is not "taking a tragedy and making it fit my agenda" to simply point out that, contrary to what was stated in the police report and most news reports on the crash, some witnesses say the bus driver ran a red, contributing to the crash. Likewise, it would be irresponsible of me not to point out the fact that Chicago Trolley drivers have been involved in two fatal crashes on Michigan Avenue within seven months, which no other news outlets have mentioned.

If Streetsblog, and a few other entities like Chicagoist and the Active Transportation Alliance, weren't responding to the problematic way this tragedy has generally been reported by the police and the press, we'd be left with the usual narrative: the assumption that when a driver kills a bicyclist, it's probably the cyclist's fault.

John- I think my prose was misleading. I was speaking universally and not about you. Re reading my hastily posted note I can see  where it could be read otherwise and I apologize. If anything, I meant to say that re reading your blog made   me think and reevaluate what I had previously written.  You have strained to advise  that we cannot  make  any conclusions because we did not, and still do not, have information as to exactly what happened.    The "you" that I wrote most  certainly should have been  a "one".  Thank "you" for objectively reporting on these important issues. 

Got it. Thanks David.

thank you for saying this! 

Critical Mass today honors Blaine and others.  "We Are Traffic" route/flyer by Steven Lane:

I'll be ridecasting on Chi.Bike

I know passions are high, and rightly so as infrastructure really needs to be improved in this city and drivers need to be better in looking out for cyclists, but calling downtown a "deathtrap" seems a little extreme. 

Would you prefer "it's a suicide rap"??

Well, considering I don't consider myself suicidal, and have managed to get to work in the loop daily without getting killed for over ten years (and in turn convinced some other cyclists to give riding to work a go as well, though I'll admit I've had some closer calls than I like to think about), I'd probably prefer not fostering the idea in this City that riding a bike is synonymous with having a deathwish. 

Not to be a killjoy, but we can still push hard for change with a little less hyperbole, especially when said hyperbole acts against the point of getting more people on bikes so this City is forced to change. 

Just my two cents.  Everyone have a safe ride.   

Uh, I was referencing "Born to Run."

Missed the Boss reference at first....

Thanks for sharing Andrew. I posted it on CL FB. 

John Greenfield for the Chicago Reader:

The Chicago Police Department along with major news outlets, reported that Klingenberg brought on his own death by pedaling through a red light. But in exclusive interviews with the Reader, two witnesses say they're convinced the bus driver was at least partly responsible for Klingenberg's death because she entered the intersection after the light turned red.


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